USI drops series against Eastern Illinois


EVANSVILLE, Ind. – University of Southern Indiana Softball dropped its home series against Eastern Illinois University on Monday following 3-0 and 6-1 losses in a doubleheader at USI Softball Field.
Southern Indiana fell to 16-17 overall and 10-8 in conference play, while Eastern Illinois jumped to 28-12 this season with a 14-4 record in the Ohio Valley Conference after Monday’s results. The series sweep allowed EIU to push its first-place lead to two games in the OVC standings, as USI exited Monday’s games sitting in fifth in the OVC.
In the first game Monday, Eastern Illinois scored right away in the top of the first inning, tallying three runs on three hits.
Following the first inning, offensive momentum was hard to come by. Southern Indiana junior pitcher Whitley Hunter (Nashville, Illinois) settled in, going toe-to-toe with Eastern Illinois senior pitcher Olivia Price.
Hunter found her groove with consecutive 1-2-3 innings in the middle frames of the game. The right-hander allowed three runs – two earned – and struck out three in seven innings. With the tough loss, Hunter moved to 2-6 this season.
The Panthers’ Price went the distance, striking out four in the shutout. Price moved to 7-7 on the year.
At the plate, Southern Indiana posted three hits and Eastern Illinois had four hits.
In game 2, the pitching matchup was a rematch from game 1 of the weekend series between USI junior pitcher Josie Newman (Indianapolis, Indiana) and Eastern Illinois freshman pitcher Mckenzie Oslanzi. Both starters made it through the first couple of innings smoothly.
In the third inning, Newman and the Screaming Eagles ran into some trouble, as a leadoff walk came around to score on a two-run home run for the Panthers. A few batters later, Oslanzi helped her own cause with a three-run blast that put EIU ahead 5-0.
Southern Indiana got on the board in the bottom of the fourth inning, finding a little spark at the plate. USI began the frame with back-to-back singles from seniors Lexi Fair (Greenwood, Indiana) and Sammie Kihega (Greenfield, Indiana). Later in the inning, freshman infielder Sydney Long (Haubstadt, Indiana) drove in a run on an RBI single, bringing USI back to within four, 5-1.
The Screaming Eagles threatened with runners in scoring position in the fifth and sixth innings, but USI could not seem to find a key knock to push a runner around third.
Eastern Illinois added an insurance run in the top of the seventh to seal the victory and series sweep.
Each side recorded eight hits in the series finale. For USI, Long had two hits in the game along with sophomore outfielder Caroline Stapleton (Shirley, Indiana).
Newman dropped to 14-7 on the season, giving up six runs – five earned – and striking out three in the complete game. On the flip side, Oslanzi improved to 18-3 this season after striking out four and surrendering one unearned run in seven innings of work for the Panthers.
Southern Indiana will get ready to hit the road later this week when the Screaming Eagles head to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s doubleheader and Sunday’s game are slated to start at 1 p.m. All three games can be seen with a subscription to ESPN+ and heard on 95.7 The Spin. Additional coverage links can be found on the USI Softball schedule page on